Thailand to pump more money into rice scheme

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rice farmerDespite all bad news and the fiscal trouble it has caused, the Thai government said its controversial rice pledging scheme will “continue until rice farmers in the country have adequate incomes,” according to a statement by Prime Minister’s Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn on July 12.

“Government policy is to oversee people in different professions, including farmers, who don’t make enough money. After they’ve been looked after for some time, and a balance is created between income and expenses, then the rice project might  be adjusted or changed,” Varathep said.

Regarding the country’s fiscal discipline and the debt burden that derives from the rice pledging scheme, the minister said the government is considering “fine-tuning”  the scheme’s criteria and conditions, including limiting purchases to 22 million tonnes of pledged rice per year and spending no more than $15 billion a year.

Economists have strongly criticised the rice scheme. Even though the Thai $346 billion economy can technically  handle the expenses, many say they money would better be spent on improvement of the education system and human capital training. While the agriculture sector in Thailand absorbs a large labour force, their productivity is significantly lower than in other industries. Thus, blowing money into an underperforming sector will lead the country nowhere, they say.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

Despite all bad news and the fiscal trouble it has caused, the Thai government said its controversial rice pledging scheme will “continue until rice farmers in the country have adequate incomes,” according to a statement by Prime Minister’s Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn on July 12.

Reading Time: 1 minute

rice farmerDespite all bad news and the fiscal trouble it has caused, the Thai government said its controversial rice pledging scheme will “continue until rice farmers in the country have adequate incomes,” according to a statement by Prime Minister’s Office Minister Varathep Rattanakorn on July 12.

“Government policy is to oversee people in different professions, including farmers, who don’t make enough money. After they’ve been looked after for some time, and a balance is created between income and expenses, then the rice project might  be adjusted or changed,” Varathep said.

Regarding the country’s fiscal discipline and the debt burden that derives from the rice pledging scheme, the minister said the government is considering “fine-tuning”  the scheme’s criteria and conditions, including limiting purchases to 22 million tonnes of pledged rice per year and spending no more than $15 billion a year.

Economists have strongly criticised the rice scheme. Even though the Thai $346 billion economy can technically  handle the expenses, many say they money would better be spent on improvement of the education system and human capital training. While the agriculture sector in Thailand absorbs a large labour force, their productivity is significantly lower than in other industries. Thus, blowing money into an underperforming sector will lead the country nowhere, they say.

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